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Time Running Short for Lame-Duck Action

Time Running Short for Lame-Duck Action

Congress has a lot to do and not much time.

Lawmakers are back in Washington after a break for the Thanksgiving holiday and they have a number of issues to deal with. Not only must members of Congress try to reach a consensus on expiring tax cuts but they need to approve a spending bill to keep the government running. Agriculture is hopeful Congress will renew biodiesel and ethanol tax incentives and find a workable estate tax solution.

The Bush-era tax cuts have been a sticking point for Congress. President Obama and Republican congressional leaders are meeting to focus on that debate Tuesday. Republicans want all of the cuts extended permanently. Obama and several Democrats only want to make the cuts for families making less than $250,000 a year permanent and let taxes for wealthier Americans increase. Senator Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., expects the tax cuts for everyone will be extended temporarily. Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., agrees.

In the Senate, food safety was the big ticket item Monday. Several votes were taken on four separate amendments including one on repealing the 1099 provision of the health care law and an alternate food safety bill from Senator Tom Coburn, R-Okla. None of these passed, however the Senate was successful in voting for cloture to end debate and allow a final vote on the bill Tuesday.

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